Long Half Marathon in Rochester

>> Monday, February 16, 2009

Or, “Chilly Half Marathon in Rochester.”

Or, “I Got Lost Running a Half Marathon in Rochester.”

I was looking for redemption after my January half marathon that was shortened to a 10.25K because of the cold. I tried to stay in shape over the last 3 weeks, and I was still shooting for a new half-marathon PR.

So yesterday morning, I got all my stuff together around 5:30 am:

I hit the road at 6:30 and pulled into the YMCA in Rochester (the race site) well before 8. It was a little chilly: I think it was around 10 to 15 degrees (that’s -12 to -9 Celsius for my metric friends). I decided to change from my orange and black trail running Drymax to my red “cold weather” Drymax socks:

I stepped outside to check on the course. Here I am with part of the course behind me:

I went to explore part of the course. This was the first thing I saw, and IT SCARED THE PANTS OFF ME:

WAS THE WHOLE COURSE GOING TO BE LIKE THAT?!? I figured that there might be spots like that, but I hoped they would just be here-and-there, and not all over the place. Farther down the trail, everything was great:

(The vast majority of the race was on running/bike trail that was 8 feet wide. Which was perfect for a small race like this.)

I had my homemade pace chart taped to my wrist, which HOPEFULLY had me finishing with a 1:29:00 PR (6:47 / mile):

First, before the half marathon started, the 5K took off. Here they are lining up:

And here they are just after the start:

Soon, 120 runners were lining up for the half-marathon. We were told that it was NOT a certified race, and it was most likely NOT exactly a half marathon. I believe we were told “It could be 12.8 miles. It could be 13.3. Who knows!” Shoot. I didn’t want to set a PR on a short course. That’s cheap. Like a 58 year old hooker. Who’s had no work done. But she NEEDS to have work done. Which is why she’s still a workin’ girl. Ya gotta pay for those new boobs somehow. I digress...

“1, 2, 3, GO!” And we were off!

I NEEDED to take it easy when I started out. (See my 4-part game-plan in Saturday’s post.) But I found myself running in 3rd place, so I eased up. I moved back to around 6th to 8th place, and I started chatting with runners around me. There were a lot of chatters! I loved it! Shortly after, I was in 6th place, and I held it there for a few miles.

Mile 1: 7:08. Good. Where I needed to be.
Mile 2: 6:47. A little fast for this early on, but OK.
Mile 3: 6:37. TOO fast. Ease up.

The course was looping all over the place: we’d cross these 2 little rivers back-and-forth. It was constant tiny rolling hills, but not bad by any means (I first started feeling the hills around mile 9). There were lots of turns, but the course was clear of ice and snow. It was just a little sandy. Here’s the loopy course. Try to make sense of this:

Mile 4: 6:45.
Mile 5: 6:49. Overall, 12 seconds behind my goal, but I figured I’d be farther back. I hoped I didn’t go out too hard...

Right at mile 5, I started talking to the guy in 5th place. We chatted for a bit - we both knew Bill N, who organizes a lot of dus and tris in the Rochester area. I took off in front of him, and we wished each other luck. I was now in 5th. I could see 3rd and 4th place running side-by-side under a minute in front of me.

Mile 6: 6:13. (a little short)
Mile 7: 7:18. (a little long)

There was no “halfway marker,” as it was a looping race. Doing the math, I would have hit the halfway mark at 45:06. That’s right about where I wanted to be! (Maybe even 10-20 seconds faster.)

Mile 8: 6:43. Miles 7 and 8 were done as the second loop around a little lake, so I was passing a lot of people who were still on their first loop. I was saying “Good morning” to everyone. It was a very friendly race.

Just after hitting mile 8, it was time to turn back towards home. I was starting to hurt.

Mile 9: 6:54. Hurting.

Just before mile 10, I technically got a little lost. I had just lost sight of the 2 guys running in front of me, and I didn’t know if I needed to go under this foot bridge or up to the street above (the trail split). There weren’t any arrows or cones on the path. I had to make a quick call. “I think we ran along the street up above...” So I took the high road. A few seconds later, and I knew I was wrong. “Shit.” I needed to go under that bridge. So instead of turning around, I just sprinted across 4 lanes of traffic (I believe it was Broadway), down a steep hill that was icy in spots, and back to the trail that I should have never left. Talk about adding in another hill. Damn it. Oh well. That led to mile 10 being a little longer than it should have been...

Mile 10: 6:57. At mile 10, we had to run by the finish area. Torture! We had one last out-and-back section to do. I was really dead. But I tried to start picking up the pace. I was still trying to catch those 2 guys in front of me.

Mile 11: 6:41. Hurting. Real. Bad. Just after mile 11, we turned for the last time and headed straight back towards the finish (see map). I met the guy who I talked with at mile 5 (who was now running in 7th or 8th place), and he said “Go Steve! You’ve got those 2 guys in front of you!” I was gunning for them. But I was hashed. I was breathing REALLY hard - like Michael Jackson at a Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Mile 12: 6:21. My splits were moving in the right direction - I was getting faster. But I was HURTING. When I start to hurt near the end of a race, I actually speed up because I think to myself: “If you speed up, the hurting will be over sooner.” Seriously. Pharmie and I just had this conversation, and she thinks I’m crazy. She told me that “normal people” slow up when they feel like they are going to die; they don’t run faster. Is there anyone else who thinks/runs like me?

My core was SO TIGHT. I looked over my shoulder with about .7 miles left, and I knew I had 5th place - I couldn’t see anyone behind me. “Damn it Steve, that’s not the point! Go for your PR! You’re doing this for TIME! GO!!” You’re right, voices in my head. Why would I stop listening to you now?

Mile 13 and the last 0.1: 6:44. (6:07/mile pace)

Official Time: 1:28:05
5th Overall out of 120
6:43 / mile pace
PR by 1:20

I had my PR!! I high-fived Mike in the finisher’s chute (Mike is the one who let me know about this race). Here’s the tiny chute for the tiny half-marathon:

We started talking, and right away everyone was saying the course was long! I heard 13.43, then 13.37, then 13.45. So I PRed on a long course!!! Later, it was determined to be about 13.4 miles.

IF that’s true, and IF I ran that pace for 13.1 instead of 13.4, my finishing time should have been 1:26:10. But it wasn’t, so I’m using 1:28:05 as my official half marathon PR. (Oh, and if it was 13.4, my pace was really 6:34, not 6:43. But I know - I need to let this go and move on.)

Here’s a shot of me about 2 minutes after finishing:

(As I pointed out yesterday, there’s snot all over me: a little on my black shirt to the left, and a lot on my grey hoodie to the lower right.)

And here’s some snot I blew all over the sidewalk. I thought it was a rather graceful, elegant form:

I talked with Mike some more, and then went inside to warm up. They had chili and hot cider!!!

...and Valentines cookies:

Mike’s wife was actually the one serving the chili. It was great to meet you guys!!! Mike was on the committee for this event. He knows that I’ll wear ANYTHING for a race, and he promised me a pair of pink socks if I came down to the race. He actually gave me 2 pairs! (one pair for me, one for Pharmie)

Thanks Mike!
(Notice I’m still a little pink from a little wind-burn)

After the awards, I talked to some local triathletes and duathletes. Then a stranger stopped me and asked if I blogged. I smiled. She said she stops by to read now and then! We chatted for a bit, and then I was ready to head home.

I’ve been a lucky boy in the last few days, so I’ve got a few bits of good news to post in the next few days. (No, no one is pregnant. And no Sarah, we still don’t have a parrot either.) Y’all come back now, ya hear?


Jess 7:19 AM, February 16, 2009  

Wow, I'm first?!

Congratulations on your PR! Especially with such cold conditions and patches of ice and snow.

JenC 7:51 AM, February 16, 2009  

That's awesome! I'm glad you were able to smash your PR!

Marcy 8:00 AM, February 16, 2009  

Dude sweet ass job!! CONGRATS on that PR.

I feel you with the faster you go, the sooner you'll be done bit. (as long as I'm close to the finish LOL)

Melanie 8:14 AM, February 16, 2009  

congrats again on your PR!

xt4 8:15 AM, February 16, 2009  

Great work dude! Great way to start it up!

Shannon 8:18 AM, February 16, 2009  

Awesome run down, my favorite part was the getting lost n the course. I would give my left nutt to have seen that in real time.

Did you ever lose the piggies nails? I want an update on the toes!!!!!

Julia 8:23 AM, February 16, 2009  

Chili, apple cider and Valentine's cookies...and you wonder why your farts smell so bad on the treadmill...

Love ya Steve! Congrats on the PR!

joyRuN 8:30 AM, February 16, 2009  

Damn - that time is awesome, especially with factoring in the getting a little lost!

Jim Smith II 8:36 AM, February 16, 2009  

Phrases you never want to say or hear when talking about half or full marathons - "I technically got a little lost" :-)

Sweet PR Steve, congratulations.

BTW - I'm with you on the run faster and it will be over sooner thing.

Xenia 8:55 AM, February 16, 2009  

Congrats on a fabulous race, Steve! And you totally scored with that post-race grub. :)

Jen 9:01 AM, February 16, 2009  

Congrats on the PR!! Way to go!
You are the grossest Blogger I know (and I mean that as affectionately as possible). :)
Don't know what we would do without your regular self portraits.
Congrats again!!

trimybest 9:02 AM, February 16, 2009  

first: great job!
second: i warned you not to get lost!
third: i totally called the top 5 placement!

X-Country2 9:29 AM, February 16, 2009  

Congrats on a great race! Way to crush that PR! I'm glad the weather was (relatively) nice for you.

GoBigGreen 9:35 AM, February 16, 2009  

Good Run Steve!
Totally with you unless I have some body part that doesnt allow RUN FAST and get 'er done!

Calyx Meredith 9:55 AM, February 16, 2009  

Great PR! Congratulations. And the snot glyph on the sidewalk? Classic Steve In A Speedo material right there.

Gotta Run 10:00 AM, February 16, 2009  

That ice would have had me running for my house!! Nasty stuff.

Maybe getting a little lost is the key. Just kidding. You rocked it and then some!!!

Pink socks.... awesome gift if you ask me.

ShirleyPerly 10:02 AM, February 16, 2009  

Congrats on your PR!!

Man, that ice at the beginning would have scared me fo' sho.

Diana 10:25 AM, February 16, 2009  

Nice report....Congrats on that PR!
Michael Jackson at a chuckie Cheese-too funny!!!

Rachel 10:28 AM, February 16, 2009  

Congrats on the PR!! Awesome job!

Borsch 10:48 AM, February 16, 2009  

Congrats on the long course PR!

I wish I was in shape to join you...

Carolina John 11:06 AM, February 16, 2009  

congrats on a great PR steve! awesome job.

the gazelle 11:10 AM, February 16, 2009  

congrats on your PR! That's awesome! I'm glad that there was less blood & more snot after this race.

Michelle 11:16 AM, February 16, 2009  

You done good my running friend!!!

I'm all proud of you and stuff!!!

Love those pink socks!!! You rock Steve!!!

Missy 11:43 AM, February 16, 2009  

Way to go, that rocks and YES, go faster to get done sooner. The sooner you're done the sooner the pain will stop, that's my motto. Doesn't always work but I keep repeating it over and over.

Marlene 11:51 AM, February 16, 2009  

I can see the logic in running faster when you're hurting, but I can never get myself to move any faster!


Amber 12:06 PM, February 16, 2009  

Ah that ice does look scary!

I also speed up at the end of a run, even if I'm in pain, I just want the run to be over with. However, if it's the middle of the run and I'm in pain I slow down!

RooBabs 12:06 PM, February 16, 2009  

Great race, Steve! I can't believe you PR'd on a long course, and after getting a bit lost. Amazing!

I'm with you on the running faster at the end. I love to push it as hard as I can, just to get it over with (and shave a few seconds off my time).

Oh, and although the chili and cider looks good, I don't know that I'd really want to eat chili after running a half-marathon. The cookies look tasty, though. = )

Charisa 12:19 PM, February 16, 2009  

Awesome race! I've been there - but in the summer. My friend works at Mayo and it is a cool area. But that looks brutal with the ice - you rocked it!!

aron 12:49 PM, February 16, 2009  

awesome awesome job!!!! way to PR on a long course!!! whewwww you are fast :)

J~Mom 12:50 PM, February 16, 2009  

I do speed up like that in my training runs. Nice job!

Blyfinn 12:52 PM, February 16, 2009  

Great run! I have to admit that I tend to do or at least try to do the same thing you do towards the end of a race that you're hurting. I start to say over and over to myself "the faster you run the sooner you're done". And it has helped in the past. Feel free to use it. :)

Jon in Hogtown (aka TORONTO) 1:53 PM, February 16, 2009  

LOVE the living technicolor/polychrome sox study.

I look forward to an installation about running!

And that snot.... So ARTISTIC....

Well, there's your inspiration!

P.S. Come on.... What's the news? Somebody finally said "YES?" Who's the intrepid soul?

Kelly 2:36 PM, February 16, 2009  

Congrats! I'm jealous of all your races... There isn't a single 5K in this area between december and april!

Erin 2:41 PM, February 16, 2009  

1) Awesome job on your PR. That's impressive.
2) Course map: wtf?! No wonder you got lost.

and 3) Your wife is absolutely right. It has never in a million years occurred to me to speed up when I'm not feeling so good at the end of a race....but I wish that's what I did.

Running Around Acres 3:12 PM, February 16, 2009  

Awesome job on the PR. And can't wait to see the cute pink socks on your feet.

RunBubbaRun 3:52 PM, February 16, 2009  

Congrats on the PR. Hey wear is the "briefs" for the race??

Jennifer Harrison 4:40 PM, February 16, 2009  

Yep, congrats on your PR in FEB, that is super! Question of the day: DID YOU WARM UP? :)

Tammy 5:33 PM, February 16, 2009  

Congrats on the PR on a long course!!

CoachLiz 5:50 PM, February 16, 2009  

Congratulations on your PR and your pink socks!

Denise,  6:36 PM, February 16, 2009  

Hey Steve! Good to see you at the race! One of my friends got lost at that same spot. Congratulations on your PR!

Casey 7:05 PM, February 16, 2009  

Great job on your race! That snot IS very elegant. Kinda like a wire sculpture of a person who PRd on a long half-marathon.

jen 7:18 PM, February 16, 2009  

Congrats on the PR!! Very speedy time on a long course and a cold day. You did great!

lindsay 7:39 PM, February 16, 2009  

umm that chili looks questionable to me... super nice job on the race, especially since it was long! love all the pics, especially the ice covered trail. congrats again on an awesome pr!

Anonymous,  8:38 PM, February 16, 2009  

Ummm 1 parrot + 2 cats = lots of cat barf in the basement. Pretty simple equation.

Adam 9:25 PM, February 16, 2009  

Booo long race.
Yay PR!!

Wow, such a range of emotions so fast... I need a beer, maybe some cookies. whew

Spokane Al 9:37 PM, February 16, 2009  

Congratulations on a terrific race. I would glad to see that there were only a couple of photos that I needed to fast forward through.

P.S. Careful with your comments about 58 year old people who need "work done." I think I resemble that remark!

Heather 9:07 AM, February 17, 2009  

Way to go on the PR! Sounds like a good race.

kara 10:24 AM, February 17, 2009  

I want those socks!
Great report - you rock : )

Chic Runner 1:45 PM, February 17, 2009  

Congrats on rockin' another full half this time! You are so speedy!

Kim 2:23 PM, February 17, 2009  

50 comments? holy commeting hell steve! way to PR!!! how's the weiner?

Alisa 2:33 PM, February 17, 2009  

Great job! PR in that weather?? YIKES!

You're awesome!

Dori 1:24 AM, February 19, 2009  

The girls in my running group would kill for those pink socks. Congratulations on an incredible race!!!

Rainmaker 4:27 PM, February 19, 2009  

Very nicely done! And the fact that you get chili at the end just completely rocks!

sRod 6:22 AM, February 21, 2009  

1. Congrats!!

2. That is the loopiest course I've ever seen. It took me about fiv eminutes to understand the thing.

3. I'm totally with you on the speed up when everything is hurting. The only problem is when you're not fast enough to hit the finish line before the hurting become too much (I've been there)

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